by Becca Schaefer, October 2009
“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”
I was bouncing with anticipation at the gates of Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida. It was 7:45 in the morning. I was running on little sleep, some caffeine and a lot of excitement. 8 o’clock couldn’t come fast enough. I had an important date with my childhood waiting for me through those gates.
Harry Potter and his friends have been with me since I was in 3rd grade, around the time that I was eight years old. For those doing the math, Harry, Ron and Hermione have been my friends for 12 years. So it’s easy to see why an area of a theme park would make me a little giddy. The world I had only read about and seen in movie adaptations was becoming real, something I could be a part of and touch.
The gates finally opened. The only things keeping me from sprinting to the back of the park were the looming security officers and my friend. We had to cross through a couple of “lands” before finally making it to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
All it took was an archway with a sign that read “Please do not break the spell limits” to set me off…I literally did a happy dance that a nearby employee said she always enjoys watching. She said watching a guest’s first reaction never gets old.
Then I saw the Hogwarts Express and the Hogsmede sign and I teared up. Words cannot describe the sheer joy I felt as I started snapping pictures. The Hogwarts Express. Dervish and Bangs. Ollivander’s wand shop. The Owl Post. I’m pretty sure I was bordering on sensory overload as I tried to take it all in.
I’ll never forget rounding that corner and seeing Hogwarts for the first time. I could hear the movie theme music playing in my head and I teared up again. It was beautiful. Perfect. The line for The Forbidden Journey, the ride inside Hogwarts, made it feel like I was actually in Hogwarts. The portraits talked to each other. Some of them moved. The Sorting Hat gave us a short speech. I walked through Dumbledore’s office. Not necessarily in that order, but you get the picture. The ride itself was pretty freaking awesome, too! I literally was in awe of Universal and their abilities to pull everything off. The Dragon’s Challenge (formerly known as Dueling Dragons) provided a lot of fun, as well. My friend and I rode it twice before heading to breakfast at the Three Broomsticks.
The Three Broomsticks was a lot bigger than I expected it to be, but I figure Universal had to make it big in order to make it a substantial eating establishment. Breakfast was huge! I went with a traditional American breakfast, even though they had several different breakfast styles to choose from, and I wasn’t really hungry for the rest of the day.
We spent a good 4 hours total in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We passed on going into Ollivander’s. The line to get in? INSANE! So we went to Dervish and Bangs instead to do some souvenir shopping. I only got a few postcards, and got the Hogsmede Owl Post mail stamp. I then got a butterbeer and my friend got a frozen one. The taste is hard to fully describe but it tastes like butterscotch. I’m not the biggest butterscotch fan, but I still liked it. It’s ridiculously sweet, though. My friend let me try her frozen butterbeer, and we came to the conclusion that it was the better of the two drinks. Still too sweet for one person to finish alone, but good.
I could go on and on about my experiences at the Harry Potter world, but words will never do it justice. A person really needs to go and see everything for themself in order to understand. Interested in going? Call Ships ‘N” Trips Travel today!
And with that, “mischief managed”.
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